Boingo (Not BOI-NGO)
April 9, 2012 10:09 PM   Subscribe

In 1994, after breaking up his group and going off to write a few modest film scores, Danny Elfman returned to working in the context of a rock band. Together with his longtime band and score collaborator Steve Bartek and other former (now renewed) band mates John Avila, Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez, and newcomer Warren Fitzgerald, they recorded what is considered the final studio record in the Oingo Boingo catalog, the eponymous album of the now newly-named group, Boingo.

Insanity, Hey!, Mary*, Can't See (Useless)*, Pedestrian Wolves**, Lost Like This**, Spider***, War Again, I Am The Walrus, Tender Lumplings, Change* [some tracks carry Tipper Gore's Parental Advisory sticker]
*live version from the Farewell concert, album version unavailable online; **unofficial video; ***live from Halloween 1993

Bonus Track: Helpless

Outtakes: Vultures (includes Tender Lumplings), Water

Insanity music video

Insanity lyrics video

Insanity alternate versions: Medium (essentially the video mix), Short

A glimpse at the limited-edition packaging for the album.

Back To Boingo: LA Times interview with Elfman about Boingo

Willard reviews Boingo.

Danny Elfman and Boingo on Later With Greg Kinnear, interview and performance of Hey! (Part 1, Part 2)

Other Boingo songs live from the Farewell concert, Halloween 1995: Tender Lumplings, Insanity, Hey!, Water, I Am The Walrus, Helpless
posted by hippybear (31 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
We don't have to be ashamed of mentioning that other Elfman tune: The Simpsons Theme Song.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:35 PM on April 9, 2012

This was the album we needed after Dark at the End of the Tunnel.
posted by lekvar at 10:42 PM on April 9, 2012

Early Oingo Boingo, but bears mentioning:
The Forbidden Zone NSFW.
posted by aloiv2 at 10:55 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Pretty sure "Insanity" had a lot to do with me being an insufferable teenage know-it-all.

Thanks for posting this. This album played a huge role in my adolescent years (I was 14 when it came out). I played the shit out of it, my parents hated it. On hot summer days after mowing the lawn I'd come in, lie on my bed, crank the stereo and read the lyrics as each track played.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:57 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Some friends and I got to meet Messrs Avila and Vatos when they were touring with their side project, Food for Feet. The were playing at a local bar but I wasn't 21 yet, so I spent the night restlessly pacing back and forth outside. (Avlia was my one of my main bass inspirations at the time) My buddies went in after their set was over and told them that I'd love to meet them, and Avlia and Vatos were awesome enough to oblige.

They spent a good hour out there with us, goofing off and listening to our half-assed a cappella renditions of Bad Religion songs after John Avila asked what new music were were listening to, and my buddy Andy ended up giving them his copy of Against the Grain.

So, that was my brush with members of Boingo. My friends and I still like to tell ourselves that we, and Andy's copy of Against the Grain were at least a little responsible for Avila's... less restrained performance on Boingo and Farewell.
posted by lekvar at 10:59 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ha! We can save for future fpp the fact that a sequel to The Forbidden Zone is in the works by Richard Elfman, with music by Danny Elfman! But here's a first video from it -- in color! I present you: Princess Polly in FORBIDDEN ZONE 2: The Forbidden Galaxy!
posted by Catblack at 11:01 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Haha. This record has been on my "every time I see it in the record store I think that I want to hear it but Ill just pick it up next time" for almost twenty years.

Could this FPP be the thing that finally knocks me off the fence?
Let's see.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:18 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

BY THE WAY, can we also talk about how beautiful, expressive and arty mid-90s music design was?

Cuz to me this stuff (a few details aside) has a classic, timeless cool to it that you don't see a lot of now.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:21 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's nothing like playing endless hours of Bezerk on the Atari 2600 while listening to Controller again and again. That was me at 13... never got into the last couple of albums they did, but I think I was working the venue at their last or next to last show. Got to listen to the sound check, and say hi to Danny, which was awesome.
posted by Catblack at 11:22 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love this band.
When I was 15, I went to a local high school Halloween dance being DJ'd by Lewis from KROQ. Lewis was giving away Oingo Boingo tickets in a ”What Crazy Thing Will You Do” contest. My crazy thing? Kiss whoever the audience picks and then take them to the concert.
The audience picked this guy, whose name I believe was Chris, who was dressed as Moammar Qaddafi. I laid one on him, dipped him backwards and everything. And despite fierce competition from three juniors who giggled their way through ”I'm a Little Teapot” and then flashed their bustiers, I won!
The concert was the following night, so I exchanged info with Chris and made arrangements to puck up the tickets in Burbank saturday morning. I can barely sleep, I'm so excited. I get up, and proceed to tell my parents how I won these tickets in a DANCE contest, and about how I had to take this boy and we had to go to Burbank right away and, oh, could they give me a ride to Irvine? (We lived in Pasadena)

Yeah. Not so much. Its been 22 years, and I'm STILL bitter about missing that show.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:23 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

I'll be listening to these in the near future. Very cool material.
posted by Meatafoecure at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2012

In my heart, Elfman will always be the devil lurking in the heart of the forbidden zone, leading his grotesque minions in big-band incantations and lusting after topless blondes.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:37 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

And I *still* can't get Good For Your Soul on CD at anything like a reasonable price. At least it's finally available on mp3.

Also, for being an LA local, it's strange that virtually none of my friends liked Oingo Boingo much, and I couldn't find any friends who wanted to go to any of the Halloween concerts, so I never saw them live. Now I wish I'd just sucked it up and gone alone.
posted by chimaera at 11:54 PM on April 9, 2012

Eventually, the name of the band is just going to be Oing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:54 AM on April 10, 2012

In my heart, Elfman will always be the devil lurking in the heart of the forbidden zone, leading his grotesque minions in big-band incantations and lusting after topless blondes.

Yeah, me too, but in my head I know he's a Scientologist, and that causes a feeling akin to a complex machine dividing by 0.

I like the cacophony of The Mystic Knights, much better than what Mr. Elfman was trying with the latter project (a new wave ska band).
posted by alex_skazat at 1:54 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Or actually, perhaps there's light for me.

And yeah, I use "Member of the Church of Scientology" as a barometer of if I respect someone or not. There's worse things to use.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:56 AM on April 10, 2012

Sitting in an English Boingo, waiting for the fun.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:42 AM on April 10, 2012

My favorite.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:57 AM on April 10, 2012

I'm aware of two musical acts that are more popular here in Salt Lake City than they are in most other places.

One of them is Oingo Boingo. The other is Howard Jones.

I have no idea what to make of this.
posted by Trurl at 5:30 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a real believer in the "album" as a work of art, and this in particular is one of my favorites. It's a ride that once I start, I have to finish.

It's a journey from darkness into light. It begins with angry rejection of the outside world and rejection by the outside world. It moves into confusion and despair coupled with some kind of acceptance of those states. Next, independence and observation without anger, and finally... Change.

Change itself is a microcosm embodying the entire album. I wish the original version were available to post here. The journey of that song, the narration of the journey from inward-facing selfishness to outward-directed enlightenment (with its delicious middle section of self-agrandizing embarrassment)... Oh man.

Amazing piece of work all around. It's easily in my top five listened-to albums of all time.
posted by hippybear at 6:38 AM on April 10, 2012

Yeah, me too, but in my head I know he's a Scientologist

Then your head contains information which needs to be revised. Danny Elfman is not a Scientologist, as the most cursory of Google searches will easily show.
posted by hippybear at 6:41 AM on April 10, 2012

This is such a great album. Somehow I picked the CD at a "Big Lots" discount store while I was visiting my grandmothers house when I was in high school. It's a real classic in my own life. Too bad the album version of Change can't be found. What a masterpiece.
posted by fuq at 6:54 AM on April 10, 2012

I love Oingo Boingo. Saw them twice--one in LA and once in Boston. However, I could never get into this CD (which I found in the cutout bin). I will have to give it another try, I guess. Elfman's solo album, the aptly titled So-Lo, is pretty great.
posted by Man-Thing at 7:11 AM on April 10, 2012

Oingo Boingo - seriously, one of the worst band names ever. I distinctly remember back in the 80s when they were new how easily my fellow DJs found it to dismiss them with an unimpressed shake of the head.
posted by philip-random at 8:42 AM on April 10, 2012

I think that We Close Our Eyes is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.
posted by padraigin at 8:59 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yeah, me too, but in my head I know he's a Scientologist

You're thinking of Jenna Elfman.
posted by jamaro at 10:06 AM on April 10, 2012

Oh man, thank you for this. This album was the DARKEST DEEPEST to me when I was in high school. I chalked my bedroom wall with some of the creepier lines from their songs. "Helpless" has probably aged the best from this period of theirs, for my money, but you could never go wrong with "Dead Man's Party" and "No Spill Blood."

(I also loved "Little Girls" at the time. When I was in my mid-teens. On reflection, I think that really creeped out my dad.)
posted by Countess Elena at 2:50 PM on April 10, 2012

Yeah, me too, but in my head I know he's a Scientologist

Others have already corrected this statement, but just in case you'd like a little more data:

The Scientology Celebrities FAQ, maintained since 1995 by critic-of-Scientology Tilman Hausherr says "Danny Elfman is *not* a scientologist"

Also (note: self-link), I have a database of Scientology service completions taken from their published magazines. Here are the results for Elfman. Bodhi's up to OT V at least. So is Jenna. No sign of Danny at all.
posted by kristi at 7:14 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's about time. So are there any other "indie" bands that have yet to reform besides The Replacements?
posted by Van Hammersly at 7:36 PM on April 10, 2012

let's drink to bones that turn to dust
posted by neuromodulator at 9:17 PM on April 10, 2012

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